26 October 2015
U.S. plans to send warships or military aircraft within 12 nautical miles of China’s artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, possibly within days, could open a tense new front in Sino-U.S. rivalry.
A range of security experts said Washington’s so-called freedom of navigation patrols would have to be regular to be effective, given Chinese ambitions to project power deep into maritime Southeast Asia and beyond.
But China will likely resist attempts to make such patrols routine, some said, raising the political and military stakes. China’s naval forces could, for example, try to block or attempt to surround U.S. vessels, they said, risking an escalation.
… Sam Bateman, an adviser to Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and a former Australian naval officer, also noted the lack of any formal declaration, adding Washington risks underestimating China’s angst over being contained in the South China Sea.
“There is a real risk of a confrontation between China and the U.S. that the U.S. might have to withdraw from,” he said, urging more diplomacy instead.
“I’m not sure what their endgame is.”
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 13/11/2015